Ho Chi Minh City will invest more than US$80 million in a new cancer hospital to reduce the workload at its current major facility.
The new 1,000-bed hospital is expected to cost VND1.5 trillion in city money and government bonds.
Cancer patients and those with similar conditions around the southern region have clogged the city's only Tumor Hospital, where around 60 percent of the patients are from outside the city.
The hospital cannot afford to improve its facilities as the patients are either already poor or impoverished after long expensive treatments, hospital managers said.
Le Hoang Minh, director of the hospital, said it was supposed to have 1,300 beds for in-patients but only has space for 700 beds. He said the hospital still kept around 1,700 in-patients at any time, clogging beds with two or three people at once.
The hospital receives nearly 9,000 people for examinations and out-patient procedures every day.
Doctors at the hospital work through their lunch breaks and over the weekends to ease the daily workload, but it doesn't help much, the director said.
Minh said city authorities agreed to build another tumor hospital on 5.6 hectares in District 9 following a suggestion by president Nguyen Minh Triet in 2006, then the city's party unit head. The president gave the idea after visiting the Tumor Hospital and evaluating its conditions.
The city government will give VND500 billion to the hospital project in the first stage through 2012 and more in the second phase through 2015.
Minh said his hospital has been training staff for the new hospital. The new hospital will train more doctors, he said.
HCMC Tumor Hospital is on of the country's four national hospitals designed for cancer, including the K Hospital, the National Institute for Cancer Research in Hanoi, and the Tumor Center at Hue General Hospital.